Son recalls father, a 1931 protestor, narrating how they buried martyrs’

MUDASIR YAQOOB
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 13 2018 12:06AM | Updated Date: Jul 13 2018 12:06AM
Son recalls father, a 1931 protestor, narrating how they buried martyrs’File Photo

The father, Muhammad Hussain Akhter, was lucky to get away alive from the site of killing of twenty-two people at the hands of Hari Singh’s troops in 1931. Muhammad was part of the protest march that the Dogra ruler’s forces fired upon outside Central jail in the old quarters of Srinagar.

The son, Akther Hussain Banday, 74, remembers, when the father had grown old, telling him how the protestors stymied the plan of Dogra ruler to bury the dead in obscure graves in family graveyards. "The martyrs were buried during night hours as earlier forces of Maharaja tried to snatch the dead bodies but failed due to resistance showed and bravery of people who carried martyrs’ from Central jail on charpoys to Jamia Masjid compound," said Akther.

It was Noor Din Naqashbandi of Nishat—a landlord close both to Dogra ruler and Sheikh Abdullah—who offered his ancestral graveyard for the burial of all martyrs.

On 13th July, 1931, while Abdul Qadeer Khan --- the hero of 1931 uprising was being tried in Central Jail Srinagar for sedition charges—thousands of people had assembled outside this jail to witness the trial, demanding the release of Khan. The gathering raised slogans ‘Allah-o-Akbar’ and ‘Abdul Qadeer Zindabad.” The troops opened fire killing twenty-two people. Akther, recalling what his father told him, said that all the entry and exit points of Jamia Masjid were sealed by the troops after the public kept the dead bodies in the Jamia Masjid compound. 

“The efforts of Maharaja were not to allow any memorial for these martyrs to be made. He (Maharaja) wanted them to be buried in their respective graveyards. He had felt the massacre have invoked anger and resentment and oppressed people are showing their resolve and respect for freedom,” he said.

“As the martyrs were kept in the Jamia Masjid compound, Naqashbandi told Sheikh Abdullah to lay all martyrs to rest in his ancestral graveyard situated at Naqashbandi Sahab (RA) shrine compound, the place few yards away from Jamia Masjid. The martyrs’ were laid to rest during night hours in secrecy. The names of martyrs were recorded on papers by the then leadership but at that time no headstone was kept on the graves,” said Akther

“However, each grave was given a particular number and it was recorded as who was laid in which grave. Later in 1948, when Sheikh Abdulla became Prime Minister of J&K, he put the headstones on the grave of each martyr respectively,” he said.

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